'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)


Right, before I forget, let me remind you that this Friday, 25th, is FFF time!!!

I am going to find it a bit strange as am leaving Hindertwig behind after a year of exploring it! (It has not gone away... it's now loaded into my writing software with a view to expansion and deeper exploration...)

Go on, give it a go, even if you have never written a poem or a story in your life. Don't have books? Not sure how to search your e-reader for page 87? How about using Google Books or simple online search? Think of a book title and then add page 87 to the search enquiry. I just did it for Anne of Green Gables in Chrome and got this.

Remember, you are to pick a word or words from lines 8, 12 and 16 and incorporate them in some way into a piece of work, not more than 500 words.
My title today is about images. Photographic ones. You will all know by now that I am a keen photographer. I would go so far as to say it is my most favourite hobby next to writing. I am possibly better at it. Even with the worst of tools, I have managed to salvage some half-way decent images. Tomorrow's post will carry the last of a batch from the PandS which, in purely technical terms, are poor indeed - and yet they all carry a charm, a rustic quality which has appeal. The first one was taken the same day as the last shot from a couple of weeks back, which most of you voted your fave! This one is even better - yet technically, it fails in almost every regard.

The PandS, let me remind you, was bought in panic prior to visiting Bertie and his Gail last November. The wrist injury meant handling the Fudge was a bit beyond me and I also wanted to travel very light. It was from a used items shop and cost me the grand sum of twenty-five quid (AU$45/US$33). Frankly, buying a disposable camera and getting it developed might have worked - but given they only have 27 shots in them and I took well over 100 on that trip, the disposables+developing would have been waaaay more expensive (as in three to four times as much).

I am back to using the Fudge but thought I would take only the PandS with me for Hogmanay to the father's place. The reason you got only a photo from my sister's phone and not from my camera is that the darn thing wouldn't work. I tried changing batteries, but nada. The PandS served the purpose for which it was bought and that was that.

Quandary. I love Fudge. I really do. There is no denying, though, that the convenience of a compact camera is appealing. Then there was the booking of my next big trip to the Great Downunder Parts and I realised that having to not carry the Fudge with me would be a real boon. It is just so darn bulky and heavy. Fine for carrying around in the car - not so much on and off public transport. Soooo.... (you know where this is going, don't you!)...
Enter the Hisstix (names scrabble their way into my head and stick; I think this was a response to its model ID). This is a compact camera but with a LOT more power and twiddly bits than PandS. I can still do photographerly things with it much as I do with Fudge, which I couldn't with PandS - and it has the 25x zoom, which I really missed on PandS. Fudge has much greater range and better macro, but I am expecting to get some very positive results. Of course, it cost considerably more than twenty-five quid... 😞

It is only just out the box and getting familiarised. Expect to see an assessment of results in the near future!

A quick update on the wrist (thanks to those who have enquired behind the scenes); it is definitely getting better but there is still some way to go. All the typing - which is fully back to standard - seems not to bother it, but using the mouse does, so when doing lots of point and click research I need the support elastic. Still can't do some tasks as once did and certainly no heavy lifting yet (pans etc). This week, for the first time in several, there was some real pain again. I hadn't been wearing the splint for about a week, even in bed, and concluded that this may be the issue. Returned to sleeping with the splint on and things improved. Will have to continue with that for another month, I think, then try without again.

MenoSundays; Life Lived Lovingly

Part of living Lovingly is to know ourselves. We need to do this to improve. If you visited on Thursday (Or, indeed, on Friday), you would see I touched upon this theme already. Today, I have decided to share with you, as has occasionally happened before, the post I was working on for Aatmaavrajanam which prompted that Thursday post. I know that some of you seek to 'meditate'. Meditation is the absence of thought, destruction of the ego...

If we are to Realise our True Nature, is it necessary to transcend all words and thoughts, i.e. the mind?

zBdSya*Ntyae> isÏ< mnsae=ip twEv c,
mXye sai]tya inTy< tdev tv< æm< jih.22.
shabdasyaadyantayoH siddham manaso'pi tathaiva cha,
Madhye saakshitayaa nityam tadeva tvam bhramam jahi ||22||
That which is known in both the beginning and the end of the sound, and also during the beginning and the end of thoughts, and that whichever exists as the Witness during the existence of the mind, That verily are you. Destroy the delusion.

What is it that 'knows' the words and thoughts, the passing of 'mind'? That thing is the witness self, practicing observation - saakshi bhaava. Sound (words) and thoughts are nothing but perception, fleeting experience. For convenience, the witnessing self is referred to as "I" - not to be confused with the selfish ego "I", it is simply that we lack language adequate to our philosophical task!

As thoughts arise and depart at such an astounding rate, we are inclined, in our absence of proper observation, to think that they are ever-present. However, if "I" take time to sit and meditate appropriately, different levels of transcendence start to bring the realisation that each thought is an individual packet. It has a beginning and it has an end, but "I" can only truly be aware of it during its middle phase when it is most prominent. In observing this, "I" can become aware of the fact that "I" am present in the spaces between thoughts - in their very absence, "I" still exist. Words are merely a consequence and reaction to thoughts, so let us dismiss them altogether.

With practice, "I" can come to Realise Myself as something other than thoughts and, therefore, certainly more than any material conditioning. To become this adept at self-observation, we must not engage with the thoughts. If we sit by a river, we can merely watch it flow past us, unaffected and detached from the water as it rushes along. If we seek to engage with the passing water, we become distracted by it.

Likewise, we must understand the mind to be a river of thoughts and in our sakshi self, simply sit and watch it. No attempt is to be made to touch the thoughts, to 'dip our toe' as it were. The minute we seek to catch a thought we are trapped by our minds. This is happening all the time. We become troubled by our thoughts and the words of others. Meditation is interrupted because we permit the outside in. Stay calm, meditate on! Reside in your sakshi self. Consider the nature of the beginning, ending and the intermediate phase between these points. Release them and see the space between where no thoughts and, therefore, no mind can be found - yet we find ourselves still aware. This is the Conscious Witness, the ever-present Self.

The answer to the question above, then, is yes, it is necessary to transcend our mental mire.

Meditation cushion available from Om YAM-yum at RedBubble

Menorise; Saturday Sayings

"Words are only painted fire. A look is the fire itself."
(Mark Twain)